Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 138 (895km): Still in Lima...

This has by far been our longest one day haul this entire trip. What better way to get back into biking shape! My ass wasn't too pleased. The BMW seat still sucks.

Problem: we now have new engines so that means we need to get the 1000km service done again. To solve this problem we got up at 4am to try and pound out 1000kms of nowhere mileage.

Part one of our plan worked; there was no traffic leaving Lima. It seems as though we miscalculated when it gets light so we ended up riding the first 200km in dark, and most of that was also foggy. The risk with driving at this time of the day is drunk drivers, especially on a Sunday morning. However I figured that daytime drivers are very dangerous and there are more of them so overall the risks are probably even steven.

By the time we hit Asia there was visibility and light. The double lane divided highway makes the Peruvian Panamerican tolerable. Once it turns to single lane it is almost unbearable in my opinion. I guess endless desert, annoying traffic, and straight lines aren't my thing. 
A typical moment on the Panamericana
Before 9am we were stopped at a gas station just outside of Ica grabbing breakfast. Back on the road heading South. The ride was fairly uneventful. We reached the Nazca lines lookout tower at around 10:30am. Alberto asked me if I wanted to stop, but I wasn't really interested. I enjoy the designs of the lines (we have the monkey on our wall at home) but I have very little interest in actually seeing it in person. 
It's not all bad, just mostly all bad

We were stopped by the police twice. The first time a police officer waved us down from the opposite side of the road. When I didn't immediately slow down he seemed to loose interest and instead waved us through. A little further down the road there was a guy waving us down from miles away. He was standing in the middle of our lane so he was hard to ignore. We kindly pulled over. I said “Hola”, trying extra hard to pronounce my 'H'. We both left our engines on just in case there was a quick opportunity to escape. He ignored my attempts to be friendly and went to check Alberto's license plate. He took one look, lost interest and waved us on.

I just want to make something clear regarding our techniques for cops in Latin America. Our goal isn't to cheat the law, it is to avoid paying bribes. I am more than happy to be punished for my infractions (in most cases speeding). I will gladly take my ticket and be on my way. My issue is that most cops don't want to give tickets, they want money up front. That's why we use this song and dance technique, it has nothing to do with being sneaky and avoiding the law.

We went a little further south of the city of Nazca before turning around to return to Lima. By this time the temperature had risen to 36 degrees. It was pretty killer; I guess I'm not used to wearing all my gear. I can't wait to get further south where the temperature is more pleasing. Give me 22 degrees any day.
Time to turn around

The return leg to Lima was without surprises. We made a quick stop for lunch, which consisted of Gatorade and icecream. On days like today Gatorade is magic. At every pitstop we noticed more and more things missing on the bikes or dents that weren't there before their vacation at BMW Lima. We have to deal with this tomorrow with the dealer.
Still riding

Since this was a mostly long boring riding day I came up with a theory. I've decided that the Peruvian rules of the road (and other Latin American countries I guess) mirror a communist State. There is a fixed amount of road that the users are required to share. The line in the middle is merely a guideline because, should you have room to spare on your side you should be happy to share it with other road users. Essentially the road users just share the road equally. Moto-taxi, plus double decker bus, plus motorbike.

Once we hit Asia again going North the traffic picked up. This was a fault in our plan. We knew that the traffic heading back into Lima on a Sunday afternoon/evening was not going to be fun. The traffic slowed us down but at least it was moving at a steady pace. Plus we are bikes so there is always a third lane: the shoulder! At one point the traffic had backed up a bit. It was because the police had commandeered one of the lanes of the southbound Panamerican and were directing traffic to the other side of the divided highway. We thought this was quite ingenious and praised the Peruvian police in our helmets. At one point I noticed that the southbound Panamerican was now two lanes of northbound traffic heading back to Lima. The police had commandeered the entire Panamerican! Not sure what people from Lima do if they want to go south on a Sunday evening, but I'm glad I didn't have to find out.
All roads go north!

Because there was 6 lanes of traffic going North things went pretty smoothly. We managed to make it all the way to Alberto's grandma's house without any frustrating traffic jams.

Even though this was probably one of the most boring days of riding we've had on this trip it felt really good to be riding again. My bike feels like it has so much power now! The worst day riding is still better than almost anything else so after over $100 CAD spent on gas our bikes are ready for an oil change.

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